What Do You Teach the Man Who Knows Everything?

One of these men has given up on Karl Marx. (AP photo)

One of these men has given up on Karl Marx.
(AP photo)

Bret Stephens explains the lackadaisical foreign policy of our “unteachable President” in today’s Wall Street Journal:

Having declared our good intentions, why muck it up with the raw and compromising exercise of power? In Mr. Obama’s view, it isn’t the man in the arena who counts. It’s the speaker on the stage.

Finally, Mr. Obama believes history is going his way. “What? Me worry?” says the immortal Alfred E. Neuman, and that seems to be the president’s attitude toward Mr. Putin’s interventions in Syria (“doomed to fail”) and Ukraine (“not so smart”), to say nothing of his sang-froid when it comes to the rest of his foreign-policy debacles.

In this cheapened Hegelian world view, the U.S. can relax because History is on our side, and the arc of history bends toward justice. Why waste your energies to fulfill a destiny that is already inevitable? And why get in the way of your adversary’s certain doom?

I’ll add the one detail Stephens didn’t point out, although perhaps only because he was too kind to mention it — or maybe he didn’t want to be painted as a rightwing kook.

But this idea that history his a side, that history follows a predetermined arc… this worldview of President Obama is’t merely “cheapened Hegel.”

It’s an explicitly Marxist view of history, as Karl himself developed his theory of dialectical materialism directly from Hegel. Need more proof? In his UN speech yesterday, Obama boiled down Syria’s and Iran’s problems to a lack of jobs. Economics trumps all, and determines the course of history.

Obama himself is no Marxist — his own view on political power is that of a caudillo — but his economic thinking is undoubtedly Marxian.

This Marxian logic also explains half (the non-crony half) of his “fundamental transformation” of life here at home.

But he went to the finest schools — so what else would you expect?